Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 first round pick Najee Harris is set to make his professional debut this weekend and he honestly couldn’t have gotten a better matchup to make his best start. The 2020 Buffalo Bills struggled defending the run, tied for 26th in the league allowing 4.6 yards per carry. Sure, the Pittsburgh Steelers struggled to run the ball against Buffalo last year, but they struggled to run the ball against everyone (especially late in the year). But this year will be different. With a brand-new aggressive blocking tyle and linemen better suited to the run game, don’t be surprised if Najee Harris is running to daylight all day long.
The success of the Steelers run game will already be multiplied because the Bills will be missing run stuffing defensive lineman Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei was a covid opt-out in 2020 and hasn’t played since 2019. The Bills were banking on getting their gap stuffer this season but won’t have his services this Sunday. The biggest weakness for this Bills team is straight up the middle, and that’s where the Pittsburgh Steelers must take advantage. A heavy dose of Najee Harris on inside zone, traps, and power runs between the B-gaps should be the priority for this Steelers offense.
Dialing up a heavy dose of Harris in this game will also keep Josh Allen and the Bills high powered offense off the field. Each run will chew up the play clock and give the Steelers defense some rest of its own. A good old-fashioned dose of ‘Steelers football’ will win this team the game. A heavy dose of running the football, and hardnosed defense is what this organization was built on, and exactly what they’ll need to do if they want to start the year 1-0.
For a running back making his debut in hostile territory, Harris couldn’t ask for a better matchup. He will be able to face one of the weaker fronts across the league missing one of their best pieces. A game like this should help build the confidence of the youngster and a great way to ease him into the NFL. When the dust settles on Sunday afternoon, don’t be surprised if Harris is the Steelers player of the game, and amongst the NFL leaders in rushing yards.
But what do you think? Will Najee Harris shine in his NFL debut against the Buffalo Bills? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.